Spicy Sesame Carrot Soup with Red Lentils

Created by Laura Wright
4.94 from 65 votes

This spicy sesame carrot soup is made hearty with red lentils, creamy with tahini, and extra flavourful with chilies, whole spices, toasted sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and slowly cooked onions. Simple ingredients and so easy to make!

An overhead shot of a bowl of vibrant and creamy orange soup that is swirled with a red slick of oil on top. The soup has a crust of bread in it and is also garnished with sesame seeds and cilantro.
An overhead shot of a pot of creamy and vibrant orange soup that is garnished with the following: chopped cilantro, sesame seeds, chili oil, and tahini.
An overhead shot of ingredients for a spicy sesame carrot soup on a wood background.
Two images show spices in a grinder and some sautéed onions with spices.

I know that there’s no shortage of carrot soup recipes online. But when I spontaneously blended some tahini and a higher-than-normal amount of chillies into a simple carrot soup at home recently? I knew I had a winner that I had to share with you. The spices, the creamy tahini and lentils, and the little punch of sesame oil and lime at the end… just so good!

This soup follows a basic method. We sauté aromatics, add the core ingredients to the pot, simmer everything with stock, and then purée until smooth. Nothing too complicated! It’s in the vein of classic carrot ginger soup. But I go a lot heavier with spices and flavour. I used whole cumin, whole coriander, and Diaspora Co’s Kashmiri chillies here. I toast and grind the whole spices before adding to slowly sautéed onions. The soup is blended with a quarter cup of tahini and some toasted sesame oil at the end. So lush!

The lentils and tahini make this naturally vegan soup satiating enough to have on its own. I think crusty bread for dipping is always a good idea though. This soup would freeze beautifully in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

I garnished mine with extra swirls of tahini, some drizzles of chili-infused oil, sesame seeds, ground black pepper, and chopped cilantro. This combination looks beautiful and is so delicious.

If you’re looking for more soup inspiration these days, you might also like this Quick Smoky Red Lentil Stew, my Creamy Vegan Tomato Soup, or this big old roundup of over 25 Vegan Soup Recipes. Hope you’re having a great week so far!

Two images show chopped carrots being poured into a pot and a fully cooked pot of carrots, lentils, and broth.
Image shows tahini being poured into a blender that contains cooked carrots and lentils and broth.
An overhead shot of a pot of creamy and vibrant orange soup that is garnished with the following: chopped cilantro, sesame seeds, chili oil, and tahini.
An overhead shot of a bowl of vibrant and creamy orange soup that is swirled with a red slick of oil on top. The soup has a crust of bread in it and is also garnished with sesame seeds and cilantro.

Spicy Sesame Carrot Soup with Red Lentils

This spicy sesame carrot soup is hearty with lentils and tahini, and flavourful with chilies, whole spices, toasted sesame oil, and slowly cooked onions. Simple ingredients and easy to make!
4.94 from 65 votes
An overhead shot of a bowl of vibrant and creamy orange soup that is swirled with a red slick of oil on top. The soup has a crust of bread in it and is also garnished with sesame seeds and cilantro.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground chillies or chili flakes (I used Diaspora Co.’s ground Kashmiri chillies)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2- inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 ½ lbs carrots, scrubbed and chopped
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup split red lentils, rinsed
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Tamari soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice

Equipment

Notes

  • The pureed soup will be super thick when it comes out of the blender. Some people enjoy soup this way! If that’s you, leave it at that. For me, I like a pureed soup to have some fluidity to it. I ended up adding 2 full cups of water to mine to get the texture that I like.
  • If you don’t have the whole spices on hand, you can use an equal amount of ground cumin and coriander and skip that initial toasting and grinding step.
  • Really take your time with cooking the onions. It’s a key flavour-building step for this simple soup.
  • I was able to blend the entire soup in one go with my old Vitamix 5200 series blender.
  • Instructions

    • Set a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the cumin and coriander seeds to the pot and toast, stirring them up often. Toast the spices until very fragrant, about 45 seconds to a full minute. Dump the seeds out onto a small plate and allow them to cool completely before grinding up to a powder in a spice grinder. Set the ground spices aside.
    • Return the large soup pot to the stove over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Swirl the oil around a bit and then add the onions to the pot and stir. The onions should be sizzling, but on the quieter end of sizzling. Lower the heat if necessary. Keep cooking the onions, stirring occasionally, until very soft and translucent (but not browning), about 7-8 minutes.
    • Add the ground cumin and coriander to the pot, along with the ground chillies as well. Stir and cook along with the onions for one full minute. Then, add the minced garlic and ginger to the pot and stir. Keep cooking until the garlic is very fragrant, about 1 minute.
    • Add the carrots to the pot along with big pinches of salt and pepper. Stir the carrots to coat them in the spices and sautéed onions. Then, add the red lentils to the pot and stir once more. Finally, pour in the vegetable stock and give it a final stir.
    • Bring this broth-y carrot, lentil, and spice mixture to a boil and then lower your heat to a simmer. Simmer this mixture uncovered, stirring here and there, until the carrots are quite soft, about 30 minutes.
    • Carefully ladle the broth-y carrot, lentil, and spice mixture into the pitcher of an upright, vented blender. To this mixture, add the tahini, sesame oil, and Tamari. Close the lid on the pitcher and slowly bring the speed of the blender up to high. You may have to add a few splashes of water to get things moving. Blend until you have a completely smooth puree.
    • Pour the spicy sesame carrot soup back into the pot. At this point, you can leave it as-is or add some water to make the texture a bit more fluid. I personally like a bit of fluidity in pureed soups, so I added 2 cups of water at this point. Bring the soup up to a boil, stirring often. Stir in the lemon or lime juice.
    • Give the soup a taste at this point to see if you need to adjust some of the seasoning. Maybe it needs even more lemon/lime for your taste, some extra pepper etc. Adjust the seasoning to your liking and then serve! I topped mine with chopped cilantro, drizzles of tahini and chili oil, and sesame seeds.
    An overhead shot of a bowl of vibrant and creamy orange soup that is swirled with a red slick of oil on top. The soup has a crust of bread in it and is also garnished with sesame seeds and cilantro.
    08/09/2021 (Last Updated 02/03/2024)
    Posted in: autumn, carrots, creamy, gluten free, main course, nut free, refined sugar-free, soup, spicy, spring, summer, sweet, tahini, umami, vegan, winter

    48 comments

    Recipe Rating




    • Saida

      5 stars
      A truly gourmet experience! One of my top three favorites from this website.

    • Amanda

      This is SO good! I only had ground cumin so I can’t wait to try with toasted cumin seeds and coriander seeds!

    • Laula

      5 stars
      Fabulous, tasty… I used black lentils this time… just as fab. Used a but of gochu jang to spice it up a bit. i blended some and left the soup creamy and chunky at the same time!

    • Hanz

      How much coriander and cumin seeds??? I think i am going crazy because I can’t find the amount but no one else has asked the question. Looking to make this soup for a faculty luncheon next week and try it out this weekend on the family. Thanks!

      • Hanz

        Found it… :)

        • Laura Wright

          So glad that you found it!! :)
          -L

    • Laura

      5 stars
      I used a can of coconut milk to thin it and it turned out amazing. Loved the silky texture and the sweet and spicy flavor profile was beautiful!

    • Julea

      5 stars
      A really lovely soup! I especially appreciated a creamy, blended vegetable soup that didn’t include coconut milk. I’ll be making again!

    • Belinda

      WOW.

    • Trevor

      5 stars
      I didn’t have lentils, which I knew would give it body, but I also noticed you added a couple cups of water at the end. I left the lentils out and didn’t add the water, and it was fantastic. It was an awesome soup, and about halfway through I started using it as a sauce over steamed cauliflower. Really good.

    • Jan

      5 stars
      I’ve been meaning to make this for awhile. Doubled it…I love leftovers;)
      Put cooked quinoa in the bowl first and topped with soup then topped it with sautéed kale. Always trying to add more nutrients.
      Loved the soup!

    • Stephanie

      4 stars
      I am new to this site but have found several recipes I am looking forward to trying. This recipe was my second such recipe and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The Spicy Sesame Carrot Soup w Lentils was a quick, easy, and very tasty!

    • Laurie

      5 stars
      This is very delicious and somewhat unique tasting. I found I didn’t have coriander, so I doubled the cumin, and upped it a little. Next time, I may add even more ginger. Really, really good!

    • Lynne

      5 stars
      Thanks, the combination of flavours is sweet, savory, nutty, spicy….yum! It reminded me a bit of the African peanut yam soup I make. I subbed splìt mung beans because that’s what I had, and used my old Vitamix to blend.

    • Jenny Kimball

      5 stars
      This soup blew me away. Spicy and thick. Amazing taste. Loved it. This is the second soup I’ve tried and loved from this post. I’ve decided to work my way through the whole list.

    • Mario

      5 stars
      Very nice flavors. Has a nice zing. A bit on the spicy side for some. Could reduce the Kashmiri chili a bit if it is too spicy for you. Creamy without cream. Definitely make again.

    • Suzanne

      5 stars
      It’s -2 here in the UK and crying out for something deliciously hot and this soup is it. By some miracle I had all the ingredients (happy dance) easy to make and utterly delicious. I even think my veg hating sister will eat it. Win win!!!

    • Wendy Harris

      5 stars
      Skipped out on the Chili spices. Fantastic! Even better the next day.

    • Rosie

      5 stars
      Loved that I had everything to make this soup already at home and got to use up all the carrots knocking about the bottom of my fridge. I added some parsnip and it worked. My toddler and I both thought it was yum. She’s also allergic to dairy so I’m always looking for ways to boost her calcium intake with things like tahini! So clever to add it to the soup here. Will def make again.

    • Kate

      5 stars
      Yum. Just eating a bowl of this now. Absolutely delicious and rich enough to eat for supper. I don’t have a spice grinder so just dry roasted the spices, then added them in to cook with the onion, then blended them whole with the rest of the soup ingredients. Such deep flavours. Thank you for your endless creativity. I’ve got your book and made loads of your blog recipes and they’re always fab.

    • Hanne

      5 stars
      My first recipe I’ve tried….and this soup is truly amazing. So many layers of flavour!! Delicious

    • Julia

      5 stars
      This is one of the most delicious soups I’ve ever eaten! We savored every bite, and it’s perfect with a big loaf of french bread. My 10 yr olds loved it too! Thank you!

    • eva

      3 stars
      I made this in the Instant Pot.  Sautéed the ingredients first and then put it on “Soup” for 15 mins.  This was too long.  I would reduce the time to 5-7 minutes, accounting for the time needed for the pot to come up to pressure.  The taste was mild and comforting.  The kids liked it as well.

    • Judith

      5 stars
      This soup is great!

    • Kim Jansen van Rensburg

      This was a super delicious soup and I don’t even like cooked carrots!!

    • Kim Hutchinson

      5 stars
      Easy and delicious.  I made a last-minute decision to cook this soup for dinner, so I had to sub in some cauliflower for 1/2 lb of the carrots.  Also, I started out with 6 cups of veggie stock (versus recommended 5 c) because I knew I would definitely prefer a thinner soup at the end.  Husband and I drizzled with hot sauce (skipped the chili flakes in case kids wanted to try) and topped with cilantro.  Leftover practice Thanksgiving rolls on the side.  Great meal.  Thank you, Laura!

    • Kortneii MacKenzie

      4 stars
      Finally got off my butt and made this! (Woke up to our first West coast frost this morning) So it was the perfect day to get into it! Another great recipe Laura! Keep em coming! Yummy 

    • Hannah

      5 stars
      SO good and easy to make. I have made this twice – my roommate loved it! Great spice and soooo flavorful. Will be making this again and again

    • eva arita

      Do you have Instant Pot suggestions for this recipe?

    • Jessica

      Hi Laura,
      This looks amazing! If I use canned lentil should I add them closer to the end of the cook time? Thanks!! 

      • Laura

        Hi Jessica,
        You can add canned lentils at the same time as what I state in the recipe. Everything gets puréed at the end, so the longer they simmer, the softer and silkier they’ll get! :)
        -L

    • Raf

      5 stars
      I’m in love. This was just so flavorful and easy to make :) will be making over and over again

    • Lauren

      This looks really good! I’m hoping to make it today, but I’d like to substitute something for the lentils. I am trying to avoid legumes and beans because of an autoimmune issue. If I used wild rice would you cook it separately and add it in at the end, reducing the amount of liquid while cooking the carrots? Or do you think it would be fine to cook the rice in the soup? Maybe I should just use brown or white rice instead? Thanks for the help!

      • Laura

        Hi Lauren,
        You could definitely cook white rice directly in the soup with the same amount of liquid. With wild rice, I think the best bet is to have it cooked ahead of time and then just use enough stock to cover the carrots by an inch or so. Once you blend the soup, you can add in more stock if you would like a more fluid texture. A couple chopped up potatoes would be another great option to add a silky texture to this soup!
        -L

    • Kim Lippy

      5 stars
      Question (disclaimer, I’ve not yet made this soup). I know this is asking a lot, but is there any way you might formulate this Carrot Soup recipe into a one-pot Instant Pot one? Instant Pot does such a magnificent job of infusing flavors while maintaining the shape, etc. of the largest items in the pot. I’m assuming (if using the Instant Pot) the lentils would have to be added at the very end and cooked for one minute only. 

    • Jennifer

      5 stars
      Love this recipe! Perfect for the changing weather. 

    • Laurie

      I made this last night and I really liked it.  Very different spicing for carrots than I’m used to, but it really worked.  Adding cilantro and sesame seeds at the end, as suggested, made it even yummier.  Thanks so much Laura!

    • Samantha

      5 stars
      Made this on a particularly chilly fall evening. Came together quickly if you lay out your spices beforehand, dicing the veggies and letting the boiling stock do it’s thing makes it a fairly hands off affair. Flavor was stellar and this is for sure in the rotation for winter coziness!

    • Brittany Scully

      Made this 2 nights ago and it was top notch! Also, toddler approved! I did not have fresh ginger on hand and therefore used ground. So delicious! I forgot the tip to add water to thin it out, if desired. I loved the thicker consistency but it think adding some water would have worked wonderful as well bc the toasted sesame oil is a very strong flavor. I think next time I make it I will use Laura’s tip to add some water. SUCH an easy meal to make, super hearty. I bet using an immersion blender would work super well. I have a standard blender so I had to 2 batches of blending, worked just fine. Kudos Laura, as always!

    • emelle

      Hi, I was wondering if this would freeze well. I like to make food to take to my daughter and family when we visit them. Thank you so much for your beautiful recipes. Mary

      • Laura

        Yes, you can definitely freeze this soup in a sealed container for up to 3 months!
        -L

    • Caitríona O'Leary

      5 stars
      More delicious, inspired inspiration! Thank you!

    • Ula

      5 stars
      Laura, you were reading my mind this morning, when I was wondering what to cook, having red lentils and carrots! I love how simple meaning easy to cook this soup is, still being full of flavour! I would never add tahini to any carrot soup, so the more I appreciate your twist. Thank you so much for sharing and yes, the soup was delicious!!!!! :)

    • Rebecca Fox

      Did you use split or whole red lentils?

      • Laura

        Hi Rebecca,
        They are split lentils!
        -L

    • Amy

      Looks yummy! Do you think it would work to blend half the soup and leave some of the ingredients whole? I like all the flavors but don’t always enjoy fully pureed soups. Thanks for any input!

      • Laura

        Hi Amy!
        I think that would be great if you’re looking for more of a stew texture. The lentils do break down quite a bit though, so the texture will come primarily from the carrots and onions.
        -L

    • Carey

      5 stars
      This is beautiful and makes me excited for cooler weather :)